LADY AT THE BAT: Derek Jeter Unfairly Blamed as Yankees Season Continues To Slip Away

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Derek Jeter Unfairly Blamed as Yankees Season Continues To Slip Away

The New York Yankees lost another game on Tuesday night and they are closer to third place in the A.L. East than they are to a playoff spot. With barely 25 games left in the season there is ample blame to go around for this dire situation.

We can blame the overall depression of hitting across MLB, evidenced by drops in year over year team BA’s and HR totals, coupled with rising strike-out totals. Or, blame the proliferation of defensive shifts or, better yet, blame the inability of Yankees hitters to adjust to them.

We can certainly blame Brian “toe tap” McCann for batting barely .230 with 16 HRs during his inaugural Yankees season. Blame Mark “I’m a power hitter, I don’t bunt” Teixeira for playing in just 102 games with 20 HRs and a .223 BA. Blame Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson for their dreadful defense and pathetic offense.

We can blame Carlos Beltran for being signed to play RF but only playing 29 games there while sitting on the DL so much that he doesn’t even have enough ABs to qualify for the batting title. Go ahead and parcel out the blame.

There is one thing we cannot do, however:  Blame Derek Jeter.

We cannot put this abysmal season on the shoulders of the Yankees captain. The man who has given the Yankees everything he’s had for the past 18 years. Who has, literally, given up his body for the game more than once. The man who runs out every ground ball and who is waiting by his locker after good games and bad.

The man who, in 2014, has played in the third most games of any position player on this team despite being it’s second oldest position player. Who is still the first player out of the dugout when his team takes the field. The player who has always put the team first. Always.

Despite what the NY Post would have you believe, the Yankees are not where they are because Derek Jeter is batting 2nd in the lineup. They are where they are because the players they expected to, as Michael Kay has been heard to say, “play to the back of their baseball cards,” could barely play to replacement level.

Derek Jeter is who he is. A 40 year old shortstop at the end of his career. Even still, he has the third highest BA and the third highest total bases count among qualifying position players on the Yankees.

So, no. There will be no blaming Derek Jeter, there will be no moving him to DH and there will be no dropping him in the lineup. There will only be three things for the Yankees captain from here until the end of his tremendous career. Admiration, celebration and #RE2PECT. That’s it.

No blame. Not on my watch and not on the watch of any Yankees fan who has grown up watching the Yankees captain give his all for the team that we love. Blame whoever you’d like during this painful season. But leave Derek Jeter out of it.

No comments: